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Stress is the body’s response to a real or imagined threat or danger and is often referred to as the “fight or flight” response. The body reacts to stress by releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which keep us alert, focused, and prepared for action. Stress is individual and is based on someone’s assessment of their ability to handle a task or event. If they feel unable to manage the task, it will be seen as more stressful.

It’s important for children to understand that stress is a normal part of life that everyone deals with from time to time, and isn’t always a negative thing. Everyone feels stress differently, so it is important to recognize your stressors and to learn to manage them in a healthy way.

Stressors for children and youth may include relationships with friends, bullying, school work, athletic events, overscheduling, as well as stressors at home such as poverty, divorce, abuse, illness, or death.

Healthy stress management includes recognizing stressors, determining what can be done to decrease stress, and using healthy coping behaviours to reduce the effects of stress. Learning healthy stress management techniques can help a person deal with both short- and long-term stress.

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